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2answers
127 views

My orbiting body is orbiting about the wrong focus of it's elliptical orbit… why?

I am coding in c++ and am computing the position of an orbiting body as a function of time. Everything is almost working. I have a nice elliptical orbit. Except, my orbiting body speeds up as it ...
12
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2answers
284 views

Was Leverrier-Adams prediction of Neptune a lucky coincidence?

According to historians both Adams and Leverrier used Bode's law to guess the distance to Neptune, which led to a vast overestimation of its orbital period (Adams - 227 years, Le Verrier - 218 years, ...
1
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1answer
56 views

Can 4 collinear planets exist?

Imagine 4 planets, A has moon a and B has moon b. A and B are binary planets. Is it possible that a and b and A + B all have same the period, so that the 4 planets are collinear?
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0answers
17 views

Calculating stable orbital resonance and other factors into orbits

Firstly here is a brief summary of what I trying to accomplish. From a predetermined total solar system mass , star count in that system, per-star classification and mass I am building a system of ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Inverse square law in one dimension [closed]

A point of mass $m$ is at rest at position $b$ and subjected to a force $f(x) = -k x^2$. We are to show that the time required for the particle to reach the origin is $$ \pi \left( \frac{m b^3}{8 ...
4
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1answer
55 views

How “large” is a Lagrange point?

When placing an object at a L-point, the natural assumption, as with all things gravity, is that you needn't place it in an exact spot to achieve a stable configuration. How much room do you have to ...
1
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1answer
57 views

Which ellipse does the Earth's semi-major axis refer to?

In Wikipedia the semimajor axis of the earth is reported to nine digits of accuracy (nearest kilometer), and the eccentricity to eight. But to which ellipse exactly does that apply? Sun-at-the-focus? ...
1
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2answers
122 views

Finding sphere of influence in multibody system

I would like to draw a boundary illustrating the sphere of influence of each body in a 3 body system. What is the best way to find such a boundary? My understanding is at the edge an SoI is the ...
1
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1answer
104 views

Determing Velocity of Moons

I have a question that I believe is relatively easy to answer, I am working on an $N$-body simulation of a fictional star system and am having trouble finding the velocity of moons so that they will ...
0
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0answers
51 views

Planetary alignment of the gas giants?

There is this nice and new applet of the orbits of the planets around the sun: Solar System Orrery You can click and drag any planet and watch their relative orbits evolve in time. I was curious ...
-1
votes
3answers
65 views

Orbit of the Earth

The question I have really is in a few parts. First what if anything could cause the orbit of the Earth to start to diminish start to go towards the Sun closer on each revolution? ( edit to remove ...
3
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1answer
167 views

How does the Pluto-Charon orbital 'dance' affect Pluto's elliptical orbit around the Sun?

Like many Scientists (and people in general), I have been watching the New Horizons mission results with great interest. One aspect in particular caught my attention - the Pluto-Charon orbital ...
1
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1answer
31 views

Observations of erratic rotation of asteroids

An asteroid generally has an irregular shape, therefore, one would expect its rotation is quite erratic in some sense. Are there any observational examples?
3
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4answers
7k views

Planet orbits: what's the difference between gravity and centripetal force?

My physics teacher says that centripetal force is caused by gravity. I'm not entirely sure how this works? How can force cause another in space (ie where there's nothing). My astronomy teacher says ...
7
votes
1answer
195 views

Will Neptune change Pluto's orbit some day?

My seven-year-old son loves astronomy-- so much so that we read space books before bed time. One of our books talks about Pluto's orbit crossing over Neptune's orbit and will be (or is) closer to the ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Anomalous orbit of pluto [duplicate]

Can anyone explain, why, like unlike all planets, Pluto does not have a regular orbit? Why does it have an orbit that meets the orbit of Neptune? Why does it never collides with Neptune? Is it ...
0
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0answers
43 views

Gravity between Moon and Earth [duplicate]

It's known that the greater the mass the stronger its gravitational force. Hence, Sun's gravity is definitely stronger than Earth's. So the question arises that why does the Moon orbit around the ...
17
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7answers
35k views

Gravity on the International Space Station

We created a table in my physics class which contained the strength of gravity on different planet and objects in space. At altitude 0(earth), the gravitational strength is 100%. On the moon at ...
3
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0answers
41 views

Why does planetary spin affect the stability of orbits?

Reading about the Hill Sphere I notice that "the region of stability for retrograde orbits at a large distance from the primary, is larger than the region for prograde orbits at a large distance from ...
1
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2answers
62 views

Deriving the velocity for circular orbital motion

I'm trying to derive the (circular) orbital velocity for a given height from the center of mass of a body, like Earth. First I used the equation of the circle $x^2 + y^2 = r^2$ to get $y = \pm ...
3
votes
2answers
373 views

Do the planets really orbit the Sun?

This is a duplicate of this question on Space Exploration.SE. So why would I ask it again here? Read below. The question reads We often say that the planets orbit the Sun, which is usually a ...
0
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2answers
66 views

Physical Meaning of Cone used in Conic Section for Orbital Mechanics

Does the polar angle (complement of $\theta$ below) of a cone which intersects a plane to yield a conic section have a physical meaning in orbital mechanics? Note that the angle of incident ...
0
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0answers
42 views

Elliptical path of planets [duplicate]

Why are the planet's orbits in the form of an ellipse and what is the proof that earth moves in an elliptical path with the sun at its foci? Initially it was thought that earth moved in a circular ...
0
votes
3answers
149 views

How often does the earth rotate around the common center of mass with the moon?

I could not find anywhere how long does it take for the earth to rotate around the center of mass of the earth moon system, which is located inside the earth but off-center. And does this motion have ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Why are L4 and L5 Lagrange points stable as points and not part of a circle?

I read this Phys.SE thread which is similar Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable? but I did not want to necro that thread. It seems that most discussions of a three body problem are presented ...
24
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8answers
5k views

Why are L4 and L5 lagrangian points stable?

This diagram from wikipedia shows the gravitational potential energy of the sun-earth two body system, and demonstrates clearly the semi-stability of the L1, L2, and L3 lagrangian points. The blue ...
1
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2answers
52 views

Gravity effect on moving bodies

If we imagine two suns of equal mass, and a small object in their combined center of gravity, which is not moving, it will stay there forever. If the object is displaced a little bit towards one of ...
0
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0answers
28 views

Minimal set of invariants to specify a Kepler orbit

In the Kepler problem, we know that there are various invariants, including: Energy Angular momentum vector Runge-Lenz vector All together these consist of 7 parameters. On the other hand, the ...
0
votes
3answers
40 views

Foci of elliptical path

I have read the Kepler's laws of motion where I came across the term foci of elliptical path. But what is really a focus? Can anyone please explain what is a focus (maybe with a diagram) and why a ...
0
votes
1answer
270 views

My python trajectory calculator for a small mass in a gravitational field - why is energy conservation violated?

I wrote this thing to calculate the next position of a small mass, given its current position and velocity, and a vector field determines acceleration. It sort of works - except I can never get the ...
0
votes
2answers
523 views

How does the Moon stay in orbit?

How does the Moon stay in orbit? The Moon has not reached escape velocity from the Earth, then how does the Moon stays in orbit?
10
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6answers
359 views

Extended object passing near an event horizon

Suppose a physically realistic object of nontrivial size (such as a star) free-falls past a black hole. The center-of-mass trajectory for the object is hyperbolic and (therefore) completely outside ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

In the time of the dinosaurs the Earth rotated once in 17 hours rather than about 24 hours, where did the rotational energy and angular momentum go?

where did the rotational energy and angular momentum go? Some claim that the angular momentum went to the Moon. Astronauts put a corner reflecting mirror on the moon and reflected a Laser and timed ...
4
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1answer
66 views

Do 2-body elliptic orbits precess in special relativity?

Einstein famously explained the anomalous precession of Mercury by showing that in general relativity elliptic orbits precess even in the 2-body problem. But apparently in the early days of quantum ...
0
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0answers
26 views

References on the 3 body problem

Does anyone know good references for the general 3 body problem? I'm looking for both analytical and numerical approaches.
0
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0answers
91 views

References for circular restricted 3 body problem?

Does anyone know of any good references for the CR3BP -- the circular restricted 3 body problem? Emphasizing on real-life applications, and interpretation of the numerical solutions? Thank you. There ...
1
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2answers
150 views

If Earth and Jupiter are orbiting around Sun in same orbit, will they have same time period?

Let us suppose that Earth and Jupiter are orbiting around the Sun in same orbit, If we talk about at any particular point. (Which is not possible but for the sake of question) I was wondering that ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Earth-Sun distance on a given day of the year

The Earth-Sun distance on a given day of a year, can be calculated using the formula (source pdf): $$\frac{d}{\rm AU} = 1 - 0.01672\cos(0.9856({\rm day}-4))$$ where $\rm day$ is the count of days ...
6
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2answers
386 views

Does a tidally locked planet have seasons?

Could a tidally locked planet have seasons? According to my understanding, a tidally locked planet rotates around itself exactly once per rotation around its sun. However, if the axis of rotation of ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Finding the initial velocity vector of an orbiting body

I'm writing a program that simulates Newton's law of universal gravitation by simply calculating the force and applying it on the objects. The simulation works very well, but now I want to simulate ...
3
votes
5answers
6k views

Why the center of our galaxy doesn't absorb us?

Depending on the theories, the center of our galaxy is a super massive black hole, this is easy to accept as a truth, but what I couldn't simply devour is how the solar system is orbiting around it ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Can you see a solar eclipse from the International Space Station?

Inspired by last week's solar eclipse, I'm wondering under what conditions one can see a total solar eclipse from the ISS. How often does it happen? I guess it doesn't last very long because of the ...
1
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0answers
83 views

Is there any free open source planetary orbit simulator software?

I need a free open source planetary orbit simulator software that should be able to calculate orbit stability for a couple simple planetary systems. Basically, I need to calculate orbit durations for ...
2
votes
2answers
117 views

How to solve the inverse square law equation of motion

From $$m\boldsymbol{\ddot{r}}=\boldsymbol{\hat{r}} f(r)$$ I can get $$r''-r \theta '^2=-\frac{k}{m r^2}$$ $$2 r' \theta '+r \theta ''=0$$ Now it seems that all the books tells me the method to solve ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

Can the epicycles of the geocentric model of the solar system be dismissed due to the laws of physics?

With enough epicycles, the motions of the planets can be accounted for in a geocentric model, but do the laws of gravity make such motions impossible? Did Newton's laws not only provide a simpler ...
0
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0answers
31 views

Question about changing the orbits of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs)

So, lets say, hypothetically, for space travel or terraforming, we want to move a good sized mostly ice Kuiper Belt Object into a stable planetary orbit around the earth or mars. Looking at the ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Create a star system fit to conic equation

For simulation purposes, I'm trying to create a binary star system. If I have a conic equation such as $ax^2 + by^2 = c$, and the masses of two stars, how would I find the $x$- and $y$- velocity ...
2
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0answers
21 views

Orbits of binary pulsars. How to calculate? [duplicate]

If I may ask: How can the orbits of binary pulsar stars, with similar mass, be calculated from Kepler's laws? Considering that both large central masses must be located at their mutual foci. Also, how ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

Why isn't the time between apogee and perigee constant?

I've assumed since the translational speed of the moon along its orbit undergoes the same boosts and reductions over its orbital course, the time between the apogee and the pedigee (and respectively, ...